Dissing the dashboard

I’ve done a fair bit of travel, which has usually involved renting a car. I’ve had the opportunity to drive myriad vehicles from all the major auto brands. One thing I’ve noticed about the car dashboard over the past few years is that manufacturers are struggling to integrate digital technology with the user interface.

Most cars, in my opinion, have ended up with a Frankenstein-style mash-up of analog and digital instrumentation. And if that weren’t enough, we’ve got audio cues in the forms of indecipherable beeps warning us that something (never sure what) is amiss.

I had a Prius a bit ago that flashed a “Ready” light. This was while the engine was running, so I have no idea what it was ready for. And take the photo included here from a Nissan Pathfinder, warning me that I have no warnings. Always useful information.

Trust me, I’m not a Luddite. We can’t move to self-driving vehicles quickly enough. And there’s plenty to appreciate along the way as we get there. The car is getting smarter with backup cameras, sensors everywhere (tire pressure, proximity radar, etc.). This is all goodness.

But until things are fully automated, we need to make decisions, sometimes in a split second. The car dash isn’t helping us in that process.